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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Painting The Fence at Carnegie Mellon University

One of the most intriguing and fascinating traditions at Carnegie Mellon University is painting The Fence. The Fence is located in the middle of the cut (basically the center of the main campus) and is a highly visible landmark on campus. Student groups are allowed to paint the Fence only during the time between midnight and sunrise and only using regular paint and regular brushes (if you use spray paint, you'll get cited for vandalism!). As long as two people are stationed at the Fence, no one is allowed to change it's message and thus one regularly sees tents around the Fence while school is on. Fortunately, in summer everything is a bit quieter and we did not have to fight for it and could pick a day with perfect weather.

We decided to dedicate the Fence to the practicum of our MSIT ebiz Program and could persuade our client to sponsor the paint and brushes.

From Painting The Fence

And so we met yesterday at midnight to start this project. Painting the groundwork was very fast, with five people and five big brushes we finished in under an hour. But once the color started to dry we spotted many places where we needed to add a second layer. Once everything looked good and the paint was sufficiently dry we started applying our message. This was more difficult than expected. For once we only had one small and one medium brush available, so only two people could write at a time. Another issue was that with the ongoing night, we did a couple of spelling mistakes, which threw us back a bit, since we had to recolor the section and wait till it dried again. We completed the final touches at 4.45am, much later than we expected. But we were incredibly happy with the outcome. The orange ground color looked fantastic against the green grass background.

From Painting The Fence

More pictures in my picasa library.

PS: Since we did not find any information about supplies needed to paint the fence, I wanted to share this with you. We used:
  • 2 gallons of ground color
  • ~1/4 gallon of writing color
  • 5 big brushes (4 inch) for the background color.
  • 1 medium brush (2 inch) for the letters on the pillar. [this was not enough. Would suggest 2 to 3 of those]
  • 1 small brush (1 inch) for letters on rest of the fence. [this was not enough. Would suggest 4 to 5 of those]
  • 1 roll of masking tape for straight letters on the pillar
These numbers heavily depend on the number of helpers you can organize. But we could have saved a lot of time if we had more small brushes for writing.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Video Games Live!

Yesterday was a very special performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Video Games Live! is a celebration of video games music, where the orchestra and choir are supported by synchronized clips from the games and light and laser effects. In addition to the concert there was a guitar hero contest, a costume contest and a price drawing.

Of course I had to go dressed as Rincewind, after all he was featured in a couple of video games as well, and the reactions were very positive. A couple of people got the reference and were thrilled to peaces! Quote from a random guy I met on CMU campus: "Whoever you are, you are awesome!" *g*

From Pittsburgh, July

As part of the costume contest we could go backstage and then on-stage for the votes. A guy dressed up as the main character of God of War (a really detailed costume!) won the contest.

The concert was awesome and the videoclips very funny. The most amazing thing were the performances of Martin Leung on piano, playing Super Mario and a Final Fantasy Medley, his fingers are so unbelievably fast!

Unfortunately, it looked like they did not get permission from Squaresoft for images from their games, and so even though we heard music from Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross, we couldn't get the visual impression from those games. But overall this was a minor point.

If this show comes close to you, don't hesitate and go see it!

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Boston and back again - a Commuters tale ;)

My trip to Boston started under a bad star. My flight was canceled due to heavy fog in Boston and I was asked to return the next morning for a 5.45am flight to New York, where I could change to a plane to Boston. To conquer my frustration I went to a nearby cinema and watched Ice Age 3 in 3d, the movie was very entertaining and as is common in modern movies did not overuse 3d effects, afterward I felt much better :).

My plane leaving so early on Friday, I had to take a cab to the Airport. As a small compensation for that, I got a first class seat for the leg from New York to Boston and so I could sample the perks of first class, first in and out of the plane, enough space and very attentive flight attendants. However, this doesn't validate the price difference for me.

Saturday marked the American Independence Day, which in Boston is celebrated near Charles River with a free concert at night and fireworks. However, for most Bostonians the celebrations started much earlier and when we arrived on the riverside around 4pm we were surprised to find the place completely packed with lots of people having picnics and family gatherings. With some luck we managed to grab a place on a small jetty and we didn't budge from there till after the fireworks. The fireworks were very impressive and we had a good view, unfortunately we were a bit too far away and missed the music.
From Boston, July


On Sunday we went to the Middlesex Fells Reservation near Boston for a leisurely hike. The Cascade Falls Trail took us to a nice waterfall and on to the Rock Circuit Trail, which true to its name was extremely rocky, but also rewarded us with a nice panorama view of Boston.
From Boston, July


As usual I took the 7am plane on Monday back to Pittsburgh which left and arrived on time. And now it will take a week to battle the lost sleep ;).

More pictures can be found in my Boston gallery.

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